All-Africa Students Union, AASU Press statement: For Immediate Release
ARREST AND DETENTION OF STUDENTS AND YOUTH IN TOGO
The All-Africa Students Union wishes to draw the attention of the African Union and international community to the arrest and detention of students and youth by the military authority in the Republic of Togo.
Scores of students and youth were arrested in Lome during a peaceful rally and procession organized to mark the end of thirty-eight years of draconian rule by the Late President GNASSINGBÉ Eyadéma, who died on 5th of February 2005.
In the last 38 years of mis-rule of Mr. GNASSINGBÉ Eyadéma, rallies and organized civil protest was a taboo in the country. This was an opportunity for young people of the Republic of Togo, who have never seen any good governance during their life to come out and express their joy of liberty. Many of them were shot by Togo Gendarme loyal to the ex-dictator, while some of them have been seriously tortured, raped and remanded in several secret locations in Togo. The report from the Executive Secretary of the West Africa Students Union indicates that things may go out of hands if there is no quick intervention from the Economic Community of West Africa and the entire international community.
Like the Late Mobutu of Zaire and Abacha of Nigeria, the 38 year reign of terror of Mr. Gyasingbe Eyadema witnessed a total collapse of the Togo economy. Student Unions and opposition groups were proscribed. Many people were assassinated, while some prominent opposition politicians were hounded into exile. The total system was bedeviled with corruption and the education system collapsed completely with no hope for Togolese youth. Extrajudicial executions and "disappearances" are carried out with total impunity in the country, governed since 1967 by President GNASSINGBÉ Eyadéma. Arbitrary arrests followed by torture and ill-treatment, sometimes result in deaths while in detention.
AASU condemn in strong term, the imposition of Mr. Faure GNASSINGBÉ as a successor of Mr. GNASSINGBÉ Eyadéma. We call on the African Union to intervene as a matter of urgency in order to restore normalcy and avert the impending anarchy.
We call for immediate release of all the students and youth arrested by the gendarme and also call on the people of Togo to take their destiny into their own hands by organizing a quick democratic referendum to move the country forward.
All-Africa Students Union, AASU
(An NGO in operational Relations with UNESCO)
State House, P.O.Box M274, Accra, Ghana
Tel: (233-24) 233092, (233-21) 258484
United States: 1-917-250-7940
Fax: (233-21) 774821, www.aasu.org.gh